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      Howie the Rookie
    "Howie" doin'? Brilliant, thanks

    "Howie the Rookie," a poetic, Irish-slang drama about a couple of unemployed, foul-mouthed, alcoholic, misogynistic Dubliners, makes the trip over from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


    What's a flute, you ask?

    Naughty. Naughty.

    If you like theater in foreign languages, don't miss the latest sensation out of Ireland, Mark O'Rowe's "Howie the Rookie" performed in a dialect that certainly isn't American.

    Written by: Mark O'Rowe.
    Directed by: Mike Bradwell.
    Cast: Aidan Kelly and Karl Shiels.

    Related links: Official site
    In a tradition begun by the novels of Roddy Doyle, playwright Mark O'Rowe creates heroes out of unemployed, foul-mouthed, alcoholic, misogynistic Dubliners in one of the best productions to reach New York in the new

    millennium. Now playing at P.S. 122 through January, "Howie the Rookie" starring Irish natives Karl Shiels and Aidan Kelly comes out of London's Bush Theatre, which debuted early works by Conor McPherson ("The Weir") and Tony Kushner ("Angels in America"). Directed by Mike Bradwell, the show was a sellout hit at the 1999 Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as in its original London incarnation. Simply staged, "Howie" travels well Stateside and plans a second engagement this February in San Francisco.

    In two monologues not unlike McPherson's "Rum and Vodka" (which was a hit at the 1998 Fringes in New York and Toronto) two feckless knackers tell intertwining stories about life on Dublin's seedy North side. What begins as a revenge attack for an inadvertent case of scabies culminates in a fight to the death over prized fighting fish, with many a desperate woman abused along the way.

    Aidan Kelly as the Howie opens the evening playing the psychotic tough with disarming sweetness. In a second vibrant performance, Shiels as the Rookie — a self proclaimed scheming Lothario — engages audience members with piercing eye contact and extreme confidence. Both actors roam the stage, letting their stories fly. Occasional hand gestures are enough to indicate the meaning of the often esoteric Dublin slang which the performers transmit well to an American audience.

    Brilliant storytelling and poetic streetese make this journey through petty grievances, gang fights and of course the usual drunken excesses hilarious and engaging. The tragic consequences of these hopeless adventures, however, leaves you breathless.

    JANUARY 9, 2001

    Reader comments on Howie the Rookie:

  • [no subject]   from , Nov 24, 2004
  • [no subject]   from Johan, Nov 24, 2004
  • howie   from , Jun 1, 2006
  • howie   from orna, Jun 6, 2013

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